RSPCA Australia and RSPCA WA
From time to time, we’re asked about the relationship between RSPCA WA and RSPCA Australia. So, here is a brief snapshot of who we are and how we work together.
The structure of our organisation
RSPCA nationally is a federated organisation made up of the eight state and territory RSPCA member societies. Like each of the member societies, RSPCA WA is legally a separate entity complete with its own constitution and Board of directors.
RSPCA Australia was established in Canberra in 1980 with a national office to house our scientific team, policy development and political advocacy team. This was in response to the need to speak with one voice on key topics of advocacy, especially to federal politicians and decision makers in federal government. RSPCA Australia also manages the Approved Farming Scheme.
Each of the member RSPCAs is governed by a Board of Directors. Each Board meets on a regular basis to determine the strategic directions of the organisation, develop local or State-level policies and ensure good organisational governance.
Each member RSPCA nominates one of its Directors to also sit on the Board of RSPCA Australia. In addition to the eight nominated Directors from the member RSPCAs, there is a recruited independent Chair and up to two additional Directors.
Currently, the independent Chair is Gary Humphries, who was appointed in 2015. Gary has previously enjoyed a long career in politics. He was a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory from 1989 to 2003, during which time he served in many ministerial roles, including Minister for Health, Education and the Arts, Treasurer and Attorney-General.
From 2003 to 2013 he was the Liberal Senator for the ACT. During this period, he held various responsibilities in the Federal Opposition, including Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Families, Housing and Human Services and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel.
The Board of RSPCA Australia meets several times a year.
How we function
RSPCA WA and RSPCA Australia have different functions although we work together in some areas.
- Policy development – RSPCA Australia develops animal welfare policies for and in conjunction with all State and Territory-based RSPCAs including RSPCA WA. We will have more information in the next issue of Livestock Welfare Matters about how policies are developed.
- Animal welfare law enforcement – Like all State and Territory-based member societies (with the exception of the Northern Territory), RSPCA WA has an inspectorate which enforces the relevant animal welfare law. In WA’s case it is the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The Act defines animal cruelty and sets out penalties that may be imposed on offenders. RSPCA Australia does not have a law enforcement role.